July 15, 2012
Vulgar Display of Power
By CrossFit

Valenzuela and Akinwale clear the women's Clean Ladder.

What’s cooler than lifting heavy weight fast?

Not much.

At 4 p.m., the Individual athletes entered the Clean Ladder, where they got to show off raw speed and power in a series of lifts only 30 seconds apart.

For the women, the bars were loaded from 140 to 235 lb., and the men’s bars were loaded from 245 all the way to a big stack of plates at 385 lb. The heavy bastard sat at the corner of the competition floor, waiting for an athlete to chalk up and man up.

While none of the Individual men were able to lift the heaviest weight, the women were more than up to the challenge in the women’s Ladder.

Two women ran the board, bringing the fans to their feet to scream.

Lindsey Valenzuela was the first through the Ladder, and she used an easy power clean until turning to a squat at 230. With the crowd chanting “Lindsey! Lindsey!” Valenzuela set up and ripped the bar before grinding through the squat and locking out the lift.

The crowd screamed, and after 2 deadlifts for the tiebreaker, Valenzuela added her own signature roar as she received congrats from the rest of the athletes.

Elizabeth Akinwale was the second lifter to climb the Ladder. She fought hard with 230 before tackling 235, but she stood up with both loads as the crowd erupted again. Akinwale quickly banged out five deadlifts to take first in the event.

“Yeah, I was definitely expecting it,” Valenzuela said of finishing the Ladder. “Two-thirty felt a little heavier than it has felt, but I knew that I was going to get through that. I’m just pissed that I only got two deadlifts.

Annie Thorisdottir finished third with a lift of 220 plus nine deadlifts to best Lindsey Smith’s lift of 220 plus three deadlifts.

“Two-twenty was what I wanted to get," she said. "I'm super excited."

The defending champ acknowledged her technique was off on the cleans, but she shrugged with her ever-present smile and said she was very happy with her performance nonetheless.

"Of course I want to be ahead of Julie (Foucher) and the other girls ahead of me, but I can't control what they do. I can only do my best,” she said.

Her best was good enough to put her back in the lead. At the end of the event, the overall standings are as follows: Thorisdottir is first with 642 points, Talayna Fortunato is second with 598 points and Julie Foucher is third with 586 points.

On the men’s Ladder, the top rung starting with 345 was the dividing mark. Several got there, but only five made the lift. Aja Barto, who cleared the Snatch Ladder at Regionals, made the lift but missed 355 before resorting to deadlifts.

“The ultimate goal is to finish … I just tried to use the crowd to my advantage, and grip and rip," he said.

He also noted how the Ladder format makes lifting far more challenging.

“You can definitely feel the taxation on your body," he said.

Spencer Hendel, who also hit 345, agreed with Barto.

"I'm happy with the weight considering the triathlon,” Hendel said. “I can't ask for much more. I'm very happy."

Rich Froning was another who hit 345, assuring himself a good finish and another whack of points.

Both Jason Khalipa and Marcus Hendren cleaned 355, but only Neal Maddox made 365. The lift wasn’t a PR.

“I’ve lifted more in college,” Maddox, who played four years of football at Linfield College in Oregon, says.

Maddox added one deadlift to his 365 lift but didn’t need it. Khalipa added 10 deadlifts to 355 to take second, relegating Hendren (355 plus six deadlifts) to third.

At the end of the event, the overall standings are as follows: Froning is first with 640 points, Kyle Kasperbauer is second with 568 points and Matt Chan is third 562 points.